Research Associate II - Strain Optimization, Soybean-Rhizobia Interaction Team

  • Pivot Bio
  • Berkeley, CA
  • Feb 14, 2020
Full Time

Job Description

About Pivot Bio

Fueled by an innovative drive and a deep understanding of the soil microbiome, Pivot Bio is pioneering game-changing advances in agriculture.  Our first commercial product harnesses the power of naturally-occurring microbes to provide nutrients to crops. We are dedicated to providing new sustainable ways for farmers to improve yield as they work to help feed the world’s growing population.  Read/Hear more about Pivot Bio on OneZero or CNN.

Pivot Bio’s Soybean-Rhizobia Interaction Team is looking for a dynamic and motivated team member who likes tinkering with microbes, especially Rhizobia, and putting them to good use. This role will be instrumental in designing bacterial strains that will lead to more sustainable agricultural practices. Besides having fun using various techniques to engineer non-model microorganisms, this position provides ample opportunity for learning in vitro and in planta analytical methods to make sense of microbe- plant interactions in a fast-paced, collaborative, and supportive start-up environment.

Location: Berkeley CA Headquarters


  • Engineer non-model microbial organisms using synthetic biology techniques
  • Develop experimental workflows for screening traits of interest for engineered microbes  
  • Analyze and report data in a timely manner
  • Conduct experiments both independently and under the guidance of the Soybean-Rhizobia Interaction Scientist in collaboration with the Strain Optimization Team
  • Responsible for producing and sharing data with multiple groups within the company
  • Keep abreast of the current literature and give presentations as needed
  • Intellectually contribute to strain engineering efforts for engineering next-generation strains

Qualifications and Experience:

  • BS in genetic engineering, computational biology, synthetic biology, or systems biology with 2-5 years of relevant laboratory experience, MS with 0-2 years of relevant laboratory experience, or equivalent
  • Strong understanding of microbial metabolism, especially with Rhizobia 
  • Experience with engineering diverse microbes, including bacterial culturing and transformations
  • A proven command of basic molecular biology techniques, such as nucleic acid extractions, PCR, and common plasmid assembly techniques
  • A proven ability to carry out experiments with careful planning and attention to detail
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Data organization and reporting with Microsoft Excel, SpotFire, Tableau or R
  • Experience with NGS analysis a plus

*Must be authorized to work in the U.S.

What we offer:

  • Competitive package in an early-stage, disruptive startup
  • Stock options
  • Health/Dental/Vision
  • 401(k) plan
  • Flexible vacation policy
  • Exciting opportunity to work with a talented and fun team

Impact areas

Food & Agriculture  


51-200 employees  

Organization type

For-profit startup/company  

Climate solutions

Nutrient Management  

Will sponsor Visa